Workshop Transcript

Working with an Agent

with Steven Malk

 Many thanks to Jeff Sampson for editing this transcript for us!

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NOTE: This workshop date was 9/10/2002

NOTE: Steven is not actively seeking new clients at this time, but to submit to him, send a query (not a full manuscript) to:

Steven Malk
Writers House
3368 Governor Dr, #224F
San Diego, CA 92122

Steven Malk's bio:

Steven Malk grew up around children's books. His grandmother, Sylvia Klugman, opened one of the first children's bookstores in the world in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1952. His parents own the White Rabbit <> which stocks over 35,000 children's books and has locations in La Jolla and Costa Mesa. Malk worked at the White Rabbit for six years, and developed the knowledge and instincts that he still relies on today.

In 1998, Malk opened a West Coast office for the New York-based Writers House, one of the largest Agencies in the country. Some of the authors and illustrators Malk represents include Jon Scieszka, Cynthia Rylant, Franny Billingsley, Karma Wilson, Elise Primavera, Marla Frazee, Margie Palatini, Lisa Wheeler, and Janie Bynum.

In addition, Writers House also represents bestselling and award-winning authors such as Sharon Creech, Robin McKinley, Cynthia Voigt, Dav Pilkey, Laurie Halse Anderson, Paula Danziger, Ann Martin, and James Howe.

VERLA KAY: Okay... you may now welcome Steve, and Steve, when the applause dies down, you are ON....

[People applaud appreciatively and yell out "Bravos!" and "Whoos!" A wild guitar riff is heard and then come the foot stomps. Bruce Springsteen doesn't have anything on Steven Malk!]

STEVEN MALK: First of all, thanks to everyone for having me, and especially to Verla for organizing this.

VERLA KAY: I've asked Steven to say a few special words tonight about a very special friend of many of ours... Linda Smith. She has a new book out, even though she didn't live to see any of her stories published. Since she's not here to tell about her own books, I've asked Steven, her agent, to please share with us.

STEVEN MALK: As many of you know, Linda Smith was a client of mine, and a very good friend. Unfortunately, she passed away, but she did leave behind several wonderful manuscripts. Her first book, WHEN MOON FELL DOWN, has been published, and it received very good reviews. Her second book, MRS. BIDDLEBOX, which is actually inspired by what Linda went through during her struggle with cancer, will be in stores any day. It's a funny, quirky, and moving story with amazing illustrations by Marla Frazee.

VERLA KAY: Yes, it's a MARVELOUS story and the illustrations are amazing.

STEVEN MALK: If any of you are interested in getting a copy of the book that's autographed by Marla Frazee, you can contact The White Rabbit (858-454-3519). Let them know that you heard about it through me, and that you'd like a signed copy. They will have Marla sign it, and send it to you.

VERLA KAY: :-) Thanks for sharing that with us, Steven!

STEVEN MALK: It's my pleasure. This book means a lot to me. I guess that's it for an introduction. I'm looking forward to answering your questions. Hopefully I'll be able to offer some useful advice.


AGY: Would you suggest for someone like me, that likes to do it all--mg/ya/pb-write illustrate/nonfiction--to stick with one thing or go with our muses? And thank you for the autograph of Linda's book.

STEVEN MALK: Hi Agy. I really believe that you need to write whatever inspires you. There are some people who are able to write across the whole range. Linda Smith was like that, actually. Brock Cole writes really great novels, and very charming picture books, which he also illustrates.

AGY: [Linda Smith is] an inspiration of mine, though I never had the chance to "meet" her. I'm happy to meet her through her work at least, thanks.

ANDRIA: What do you look for in a writer?

STEVEN MALK: Hello Andria. I just look for work that speaks to me in some way; work that I'm drawn to, and that stays with me. I know that's a vague and somewhat generic answer, but it's a hard thing to pin down. I really look for a strong voice.

ANDRIA: Thanks, Steven.

VERLA KAY: Can you define "voice" for us, Steven? What do you consider a strong voice?

STEVEN MALK: That's a good question (and a tough one). Voice is a hard thing to define, but you definitely know it when you read it. It's something that comes from within the writer and the character and makes the work distinct.

VERLA KAY: Kind of like your own specific "style" of how you write your words?

STEVEN MALK: Yes, exactly.

AMISHKA: Are you looking for new clients now? Or are you full?

STEVEN MALK: Hi Amishka. I'm not actively seeking new clients right now. I hesitate to say that I'm "full," but I'm being more selective than ever, and I'm having to turn away very good work. If something that I just absolutely can't say no to comes along, then I can take it on, but in general, I'm not taking on a lot of new clients right now.

AMISHKA: Thanks.

VERLA KAY: Thank you for letting us know that, Steve. It will make any possible rejections not quite so "painful," knowing that ahead of time.

CM: I write both adult and children's literature. While I'm having more success with the latter than the former right now, I don't want to pigeonhole myself as one writer or the other. Is it possible to find an agent who handles both well? Or would you suggest that I use two agents--one for adult lit and one for children's lit?

VERLA KAY: Oh... Good question, CM!

STEVEN MALK: CM, that's a good question. There are agents who handle both genres. I used to represent quite a few adult writers, and I do still represent some. For me personally, it has to be something that really interests me (sports, pop culture, music, quirky fiction). Both markets are very specialized, so I think you need to have an agent who is very familiar with both markets. If you feel more comfortable having two agents, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

DARYL: Hi Steven. I was wondering what sort of pb's editors interested in buying right now (rhyming, hist. fict., humor, little text vs. lots of text, etc...). What are today's trends?

STEVEN MALK: Hi, Daryl. To be honest, I really don't pay any attention to trends. I never have, as I think they can steer writers in the wrong direction. I really don't believe in "writing to the market." I think you need to write from within, whatever that may be. I just find that right now--as always--editors are looking for good, timeless stories with a strong voice.

D: Verla gave me permission to ask two questions (but you don't need to answer both... maybe you could flip a coin to select one). Question 1: What might Publishers Weekly (or something like this) say about you (as an agent), five years from now? Question 2: What question would you like to be asked (hopefully something you've never been asked before)? For this second question, if you want to come up with a question, it would be great if you could.

STEVEN MALK: D, those are both good questions. As for the first one, that's a toughie. I guess I would hope that people would say that I have good taste and that I have a lot of respect for writers and for children's literature. And that I'm a good advocate for my writers, and a supportive one. I can't think of a question that I haven't been asked off-hand, right now, although I might later. Everyone usually asks really good questions. Maybe what my favorite movie, book, band is? And my favorite baseball and football teams. :)

D: Thank you!

DIDI: Steven, how do you keep your clients informed about which MS is where, editors' responses, etc? I mean, how can a writer keep track of an agent's efforts?

STEVEN MALK: Hi Didi. I keep in touch with my clients via phone and email. It's different for every client, in that some people want to be more involved with this process than others. I think it's important to let your agent know how much information you want (do you want to be informed every time their is a rejection, or just when there's a sale etc.).

DELLA: Do you edit Cynthia Rylant's easy to reads? (Poppleton? Henry and Mudge? etc) and what is the state of the market for easy to reads and beginning chapter books?

STEVEN MALK: Della, Cyndi's work is in such amazing shape when I get it, that I really don't have to do anything to it. She's a very polished writer, with an amazing voice (and she's a good example of someone who writes successfully across many genres). I think the market is strong for easy to reads, but it does tend to be slightly more "concept driven" than other genres. So it's quite important to have a fresh, original idea.

DELLA: Can you explain "concept driven"?

STEVEN MALK: Della, by concept driven, I mean that there usually--not always--needs to be a concept driving the stories. Jon Scieszka's Time Warp Trio are a good example. The voice is what really makes the stories, but the concept of time travel to various historical times is a good hook, and something people can grab on to.

ELLA: Thanks for your time, Steven. From books I've seen published lately, it would seem that--thanks to the Harry Potter successes--publishers are open to novels about magic. Are they interested in humorous magical fantasy? Would you be?

STEVEN MALK: Hi, Ella. Harry Potter and Artemis Fowl--among other books--have definitely sparked a lot of interest in fantasy. I do think publishers are interested in it, and, personally, I always love humor.

ELLA: Thanks, Steven :)

DONA: What's the market like now for Young Adult novels?

STEVEN MALK: Dona, I think the market is very strong for young adult novels. There have been some very successful ones lately, and I think that a lot of people who hadn't paid much attention to the genre are beginning to take more notice of it now.

DONA: Great!

VERLA KAY: Steve, Barry Bettinger can't get into the chat room, but he'd like the answer to this question: When someone is submitting to you, do you want queries or manuscripts?

STEVEN MALK: Verla, no problem. I prefer a query letter describing the work, and giving me some information on the author's background. And don't forget a SASE! (I'd say that over 30% of the submissions I get don't include a SASE.)

GINGER_KAT: Hi Steven. Sometimes I feel like children's writers who write "silly" stuff with lots of kid-appeal don't get taken as seriously. Is it harder for them to find an agent? eg., would you have signed Dav Pilkey or Roald Dahl or Robert Munsch? It feels so hard to compete with those beautiful, serious historical (etc.) books.

STEVEN MALK: First of all, I absolutely would have signed Roald Dahl or Dav Pilkey! Roald Dahl was one of my favorite writers growing up, and Dav Pilkey's TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE THANKSGIVING is one of my all time favorite picture books (I'm a vegetarian). I do think you're right that in certain cases, people who write humorous or "silly" material get dismissed as being "light" and "not serious enough." I think this happens with mid-grade more than picture books, although I see that changing somewhat these days. Some people assume that just because something's funny, it won't be well written and have a strong voice, and that's not the case at all.

JENNI: What would you ideally like to see from your clients in terms of marketing and future works? What happens if you are not passionate about a particular piece by one of your authors?

STEVEN MALK: Hello Jenni. I just ask that my clients send me work that they feel really good about it, and that they've worked hard on. Some of my clients are very prolific, and others take a long time to write a new piece; it's different for everyone. If I do get something that I don't consider to be a good representation of my client's talent and work, then I try to be honest with them, and tell them why -- constructively. 

JENNI: Thanks Steven!

DEETIE: Steven, are there any pitfalls to watch for in author collaboration?

STEVEN MALK: In terms of collaborating with a co-writer?


STEVEN MALK: I think it's very important to spell out the practical terms of your agreement right up front. That is, how much each author gets (will it be 50/50, 60/40 etc.). You really don't want to have to face these questions later when it's more complicated. I even think that a collaboration agreement right up front is a very good idea.

KEELY: Hi Steven, do you think it's worthwhile for an unpublished author to seek an agent?

STEVEN MALK: Hi Keely. Obviously, I'm biased, but I do think it benefits most authors to have an agent. The industry is changing a lot, and it's more unstable and less predictable than it used to be. It really helps to have an advocate and a champion in your corner.

KEELY: Thanks Steve.

LASERBRAID: Hi Steve, I'm Sarah (aka LB). I recently--today, actually--had the unpleasant experience of seeing one of my drawings published, but attributed to someone else. Have you ever dealt with this kind of situation with one of your clients? What did you do about it?

STEVEN MALK: Hello Sarah. Thankfully, I haven't dealt with that kind of situation, and I'm very sorry to hear that you're faced with it. I think you need to contact whoever published the illustration immediately, inform them of their mistake, and ask that they issue a correction right away.

LASERBRAID: Thanks, Steve. By the way, what's your favorite movie?

STEVEN MALK: My favorite movie is probably Rushmore. Glory is another one of my favorites. I also loved Swingers and Jerry Maguire, and I have a true affinity for cheesy 80's movies (Better off Dead, Real Genius etc.)

LASERBRAID: LOL, thanks for sharing!

KIMMAR: Do you think the publishing houses will continue to get more and more restrictive to new, unpublished writers, or will there be any easing up in the future?

STEVEN MALK: Kimmar, I actually think that publishers love discovering new talent, however I think they're closing themselves off to unsolicited manuscripts, and that's probably a trend that will continue. But there's nothing more that a publisher loves than discovering a new voice.

LIBBY1: Do you think the economy is affecting how many manuscripts editors are buying?

STEVEN MALK: Hi Libby. I like to think that our industry is somewhat "recession proof," but I do think that publishers are being especially cautious and careful right now.

LUPE: My English it is good to hear but I like to write the rhyme books. Do you Mr. Malk like to read the rhyme? I like the American football. I am liking the Green Bay this year. Are you liking the San Diegos? I am so glad you do not eat the meat.

STEVEN MALK: Hi Lupe. I think I remember you sending me a rhyming story a couple of years ago. I hope your writing is coming along well. I do represent several writers who write very well in rhyme, but rhyme in general is tricky, and editors tend to be very critical of it. So it really needs to be great, and the rhyme needs to be flawless, and it needs to serve a purpose. Yes, I'm a big Chargers fan, and they looked great on Sunday!

LUPE: Thank you dear Mr. Malk. You are so beautiful to answer me.

LISA ALBERT: Not using your own clients' titles, what are some of your favorite children's books (PB's, MG & YA)?

STEVEN MALK: Hi Lisa. I have so many favorite children's books, but some that come immediately to mind are FLAT STANLEY, anything at all by Barbara Cooney, GOOD NIGHT GORILLA, The Great Brain series by John D. Fitzgerald, I'LL FIX ANTHONY by Judith Viorst... I also love THE SWEETEST FIG by Chris Van Allsburg.

MERRIE LYNN: If you can't sell a client's work and they sell it themselves, you don't get the 15%, do you?

STEVEN MALK: Hi Merrie. Assuming that they make the sale completely on their own (including negotiating the deal and the contract etc.), then I wouldn't take a commission.

MERRIE LYNN: Does that scenario happen with you and your clients?

STEVEN MALK: Merrie, unless it's a work for hire deal or something unusual like that, then it's very unlikely.

MISSKOPELK: What's your all-time, most absolute, favorite adult book ever (as in literature, not the icky kind)?

STEVEN MALK: Hi Lisa Kopelke. That's a very tough question, but at the risk of sounding like a disaffected, angsty 20something, I would say THE CATCHER IN THE RYE, although I also really love Chaim Potok, Muriel Spark, Kazuo Ishiguro, Tom Perotta, David Sedaris, Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Oh, Nick Hornby is another one of my favorite adult writers.

MISSKOPELK: David Sedaris! Thanks Steve.

MORNINGSWING: I'm sorry, I may be asking something you have already covered. I came in late unaware the workshop was happening. What type of books do you represent? PB, MG, YA? Fantasy/adventure, contemporary? etc.

STEVEN MALK: Hi morningswing. I represent many different kinds of books, ranging from very young picture books to middle grade and young adult novels. I really work on almost all genres.


PAMELA ROSS: Hello to Steve, and happy to have the chance to talk with you again. My question is about your style of dealing with a word-challenged (read: blocked!) client. What advice do you offer to lure him or her out of the hole?

STEVEN MALK: Hi Pamela. That's an interesting question. I try to be as supportive as possible, and offer words of encouragement. It really depends on why the writer is feeling blocked. Sometimes it's due to insecurity or fear of rejection, and in that case, I think it's important for the author to just write, and try not to look past that, if that makes sense.

DAWNELLE: What is your opinion on pb ms that have almost an adult appeal to them, such as "Love You Forever" by R. Munsch? Are there certain publishers that lean towards publishing books w/ that type of feel to them? Thanks.

STEVEN MALK: Hello Dawnelle--that's a good question. It's certainly an advantage when you have a manuscript that appeals to adults as well as children. That said, I think a children's book should appeal to children first and foremost. There probably are certain publishers--and editors in particular--who are more open to this type of book. THE GIVING TREE is a book that did that successfully, in my mind, although I know that people have mixed feelings [about it].

SUSETTE: Hi, Steve. As an agent, when an author sends you a story, how much input do you give them on that story? Do you suggest revisions, etc. How much do you help in that process? And is this the norm with most agents?

STEVEN MALK: Hi Susette! I do like to get involved and offer editorial suggestions, where it's appropriate. These days, publishers like to receive manuscripts that are fairly polished, so it's important for agents to offer those comments, if they think that they can help take a manuscript to the next level.

PAULA LESSO: Hi Steven! When I started writing my YA novel in free verse, something clicked big time, and it's going so well--it's writing from within, as you mentioned above--my heart's in the topic, and the form, 100%. Are you seeing more YA submissions in free verse these days? I know I'm seeing more on the shelves, little by little.

STEVEN MALK: Hi Paula--that's terrific, and it sounds like you're really in a good place with this book. I have a client who writes novels in free verse (Sonya Sones), and when I sold her first book, there weren't too many, but it seems like a lot of them have been published in the last couple of years. I certainly think that publishers are open to seeing them.

PAULA LESSO: Thanks! I like Sonya Sones's books very much.

SUE A: Hi! What are the top misconceptions about what an agent is supposed to do for an author?

STEVEN MALK: SueA--I think my authors have realistic expectations about what to expect, but it's extremely important to have an open line of communication from the very beginning. If there's anything that you're unsure of, you should sort it out with your agent up front, so that you can avoid confusion later on.

SUE A: Thanks.

VICTORIA: My editor is wonderful but busy and I feel guilty asking her questions that will help me come up the learning curve in this industry, which I am new to. Can an agent fill this role (education) or is he or she likely to be too busy as well?

STEVEN MALK: Hi, Victoria. That is exactly where an agent will be very useful. Agents are there to be your guide through the business, and to answer any questions that you might have, no matter how silly you think they might be.


SUSIE Q: Hello Steven, will 'quiet' books ever make a strong comeback? There seems to be a lot of razz-ma-tazz stuff out there now.

STEVEN MALK: Hi, SusieQ. It can definitely be frustrating when you get the response that your story is "too quiet." Unfortunately, some publishers really want stories that have an overt hook, and are somewhat "flashy." That said, there's always, always room for the classic, well written picture book. I don't think anyone would have called Goodnight Moon or Miss Rumphius "flashy," and look how well they have done!

SUSIE Q: Oh thank you! Thank you!

TONI B: Hi Steve! In one of my online groups, we're into a discussion of exercising the accountant clause in contracts and having an accountant examine the publisher's books. Have any of your clients ever done that? What's your perspective?

STEVEN MALK: Hi Toni! That's an interesting discussion. Personally, I haven't had authors audit their publishers, although I know that Writers House has. In fact, there are specific businesses who handle this. If you have many, many books with a publisher, I think it can be a really good idea, especially if you're quite sure that there are errors, and you've already tried resolving it through your editor and the royalty department.

TONI B: Thanks, Steve. That seems to be the way some of the published folks are leaning. So, one's agency could recommend a firm to do this?

STEVEN MALK: Toni--yes, they should have the name of a couple companies who do this. I believe there's one called Royalty Review, but I could have the name slightly wrong.

TONI B: I'll pass the word along! Thanks.

STEVEN MALK: No problem!

WRITERMOM24: Is it okay to resubmit to an agent once you have been rejected and, if so, how long should you wait if you have something you think they would like? Should I at least wait until the agent's paper voodoo dolls of me are thrown out? ;)

STEVEN MALK: Hello, writermom24. I think it's definitely fine to resubmit to an agent. It's really up to you as to how long you should wait.

WRITERMOM24: Thank you Steve.

ACOWEE: Hi Steven, thanks for being here. In your opinion, if an editor or agent either rejects or doesn't express an interest in seeing a mss, at what point, if any, after major revisions, is it appropriate to approach that editor or agent again?

STEVEN MALK: Hi, ACowee. It's really up to you. It's hard to put a time frame on that kind of thing, but if you think that you've substantially revised something to the point where an agent or editor might change their mind, then I think it's ok to resubmit.

ACOWEE: Thank you, Steven

GAIL M: Concerning ACowee's question--when is it time to resubmit--Andrea Brown says about two years. She says things go in cycles. After two years, reread it, revise, and resubmit.

ACOWEE: Thank you, Gail!

STEVEN MALK: Hi GailM--that's an interesting observation. I just have a really hard time putting a time frame on that. Sorry to be so vague!

ACOWEE: Your answer was excellent Steve, thanks.

WUZZLEDORF: Can a person simultaneously submit to more than one agent?

STEVEN MALK: Hello, Wuzzledorf. It's fine to simultaneously submit (although agents certainly appreciate exclusive submissions). If you're going to do a multiple submission, just make sure that you're up front about it, and say so in your cover letter.

WUZZLEDORF: Thanks... Heaven smile on me, what would I do if they both accepted?

STEVEN MALK: Wuzzle--in that case, I think you would need to talk to both of them and see who you feel more comfortable with, and whose style you like more.


MARYSMUSE: Good evening. I came in a bit late, so this may have already been answered... but in your opinion, how important is it for a new author to seek representation? Would they be better off subbing a first book on their own? Thanks.

STEVEN MALK: Hi Marysmuse--Not for me. I've taken many first time authors on, and then I have other authors who waited a long time and many books before approaching an agent. It really depends on what you're comfortable with. But please don't feel like you need to have published books before you can approach an agent.

KRISTIE1: I'm there any standard to how prolific a writer should be before an agent would consider representing her/him?

VERLA KAY: Kristie, it takes me 2 to 5 years to write each of my books... I work on three at a time so as to keep them coming... Just thought you'd like to know that.

STEVEN MALK: It really doesn't matter to me how prolific writers are, as long as you're producing work that comes from the heart, and that feels right to you. I hate for authors to rush themselves.

KRISTIE1: Thanks Steven (and Verla), I feel better.

DAWNELLE: How many ms and queries do you review each month to look for potential authors to represent?

STEVEN MALK: Hi Dawnelle--It really varies, but it can be anywhere from 75-150.


ANDRIA: How many clients do you represent?

STEVEN MALK: Andria--I represent about 50 clients.

ANDRIA: Thanks.

WUZZLEDORF: Do publishers shy away from humorous-word crazy-rhyme now that Seuss is gone?

STEVEN MALK: Wuzzledorf--I think that publishers do have an aversion to "Dr. Seuss-type" manuscripts, just because so many people use him--mistakenly--as their reference point when they start to write. I get an amazing amount of manuscripts in that style.

VERLA KAY: Still, Steve? Wow.

DELLA: Steven, can you tell us what kinds of submissions you see TOO much of and therefore don't want?

STEVEN MALK: Della--I do see a lot of Dr. Seuss type stuff. A lot! I guess the only thing I really don't want is stuff that's written directly for the market, and is clearly (and transparently) an attempt to make money and cash in on a "trend."

Della: Thanks, Steven

LASERBRAID: When you look at the work of an author/illustrator, is the writing more important to you than the illustrations?

STEVEN MALK: Laserbraids--I think text and art need to work together really well. They're both equally important.

LASERBRAID: Oh, good, I think so too :)

MISSKOPELK: Where is your favorite place to read ms submissions? I hear the beaches in San Diego are nice.

STEVEN MALK: Lisa--I don't really go to the beach anymore, since I broke my nose there a few years ago (long story). I like reading manuscripts in a really quiet place. My favorite is to read a manuscript with my cat curled up with me.

SUSETTE: To date, how many books have you sold in all for clients and how long have you been an agent? I know it's a lot! :) BTW, thanks for coming tonight. Great workshop!

STEVEN MALK: Thanks, Susette. I've been an agent for about 6 years, almost 7, I guess. I'm getting old! Hard to count up all of the books that I've sold, but it's a lot! Then again, it's the quality, not the quantity!

SUSETTE: True, Steve, and you are great at matching books with publishers. I know you sold 9 books for Linda. And more for Karma. That's only two of your clients. I think you've got better than average placement than most agents.

ACOWEE: Speaking of trends, is there anything (YA in particular) topic-wise that you would avoid, that's been overdone?

STEVEN MALK: ACowee--I can't really think of something I would completely avoid, no. It really depends on the writing.

ACOWEE: Good to know, thank you. Thanks for chatting with us!

DAWNELLE: Are you interested in pb ms that have historical accuracy, but have fictional characters (for example, such as a blacksmith in the nineteenth century)? Thanks for all your great answers tonight.

STEVEN MALK: Dawnelle--I do like historical picture books. Verla writes very good ones, as does one of my clients, Deborah Hopkinson.

VERLA KAY: Wow... thanks, Steve. Nice compliment to my writing!

LISA ALBERT: Have there been titles you've rejected that went on to be big sellers?

STEVEN MALK: LisaAlbert--there have been a couple of really good submissions where I made a specific recommendation, and they went on to do well. It was actually a really good feeling.

AGY: Steve do you take on newbie writers, or do you want someone with tried and true experience?

STEVEN MALK: Agy--it totally depends on the work.

MORNINGSWING: When submitting to an agent, should you send samples of different work or just from one MS?

STEVEN MALK: Morningswing--probably one manuscript. Maybe two, but be careful of sending too many. I just got a submission where someone sent 15 stories, which is sort of overwhelming.

PAMELA ROSS: Steve, may I ask what are some of the books your clients have coming out this season?

STEVEN MALK: Pamela--sure. Well there's MRS. BIDDLEBOX. Lisa Wheeler has another great book coming out--TURK AND RUNT. WAITING TO DISAPPEAR is a wonderful first novel by April Fritz (who had been writing for 20 years before being published). CHRISTMAS IN THE COUNTRY and THE TICKY TACKY DOLL are two new great books from Cynthia Rylant. THERE WAS A BOLD LADY WHO WANTED A STAR is a really great picture book by Charise Mericle Harper, which should just be out now. STUART'S CAPE by Sara Pennypacker is a really funny chapter book. The sequel to AUNTIE CLAUS is out this fall--AUNTIE CLAUS AND THE KEY TO CHRISTMAS. There are more, but those are some!

AMISHKA: Do you represent Kenneth Oppal?

STEVEN MALK: Yes, I do represent Ken Oppel--he's great! He's really huge in Canada! I see the press and it's amazing.

MARYSMUSE: Steve, do you have an opinion on ICL [the Institute for Children's Literature]? Is it a good place for 'newbies' to start?

STEVEN MALK: Marysmuse--I've heard very good things about it!


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